Saturday, June 2, 2007
Saturday! Made it through the week. Brad made it safely to Toledo for his niece's baptism. He got himself a new toy for the trip. A GPS device for the car. It is one of the ones he was looking at for me, so this way he can play with it using his "professional" eye. If there are any idiosyncrasies he will find them. Then we can decide if I should look at another model or make or if this is the one for me.

My plans had been to run a few errands on the way home last night and come home and relax in a child-free house. But my friend Laurie sent me a text asking if I wanted to meet for drinks and snack. I had arrived home to normal sedate weather. Within minutes of receiving Laurie's text the wind kicked up considerably and the sky went black as tar. Thunder, lightning and driving rain. And then it was gone in about 5 minutes. Leaving behind a pink sky with some fluffy dark gray clouds. We met at Rock Bottom near the house for a few hours, sat at an outside table, people watched and talked about everything. Merlot for me (no Sideways comments from anybody!) and Mud In Your Eye pale wheat for her. A little calamari and really good homemade potato chips with a malt vinegar powder. Came home, talked to Brad for a few minutes on a bad cell signal and climbed into bed.

A bit about Laurie. Because it is a worthwhile story and she is an amazing woman. Laurie is 36 years old. She has 2 gorgeous girls Hannah (10) and Brenna (6)... they get on with Emma and Lauren really well. A little over a year and a half ago she went to her OB/GYN thinking she felt a lump in her breast. He did a breast exam and sent her on her way saying basically he felt nothing and did not feel it warranted a mammogram.

A couple months later she went back because the breast still felt "wrong". The physician grudgingly conceded that a mammogram was needed. The results of the mammogram did not get back to Laurie for several weeks, and this was only because she called. The nurse in the office (damn nurse) read her the top paragraph "dense, fibrous tissue with no masses visualised"... what the second paragraph included was the statement from the radiologist recommending "MRI or surgical consult" as further clarification. This was not told to Laurie.

At the end of last year her breast changed even more so. Becoming hard, red and warm. She was sent for a biopsy (a year after she first felt something was not right). The diagnosis was cancer. Ductal Carcinoma. She was sent for an oncology consult and chose and amazing doctor at Loyola Medical Center by the name of Ellen Gaynor. She is matter of fact and honest. We all liked her style immediately. As the diagnostic test results began to roll in. The end diagnosis was Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma with some Inflammatory Breast Carcinoma characteristics. Five tumors in all and because of the IBC no possibility of just removing the tumors and leaving the breast.

Laurie has completed 7 out of 8 cycles of chemotherapy (Adriamycin and Cytoxan for cycles 1-4 and Taxotere for cycles 5-8). She home born this all so well and is so strong. She looks more and more beautiful each day. I saw a magnet that said "Bald Chicks Rule" the other day and am putting together a basket for her.

A mastectomy is the next step. She has that consultation next week and this will most likely happen at the end of June or early July. And then 6 weeks of daily radiation when the mastectomy site has healed.

The point I want to make (in addition to how awe inspiring my good friend is) is do self checks regularly, know your body, be your OWN advocate. If something does not feel right and the first answer does not jive with how YOU feel and what your gut is telling you, do not be afraid to dig deeper, ask for second opinions, demand attention. Doctors are not the end all be all, and things do get missed, labs do get lost, egos and experience does play apart. So do not think you have to take the first word as the only word... there are always more words!

I am getting Brad a T-Shirt that says "Save Second Base" (he is the self proclaimed bo... never mind:)


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